Jacob Zuma is at the centre of a religious storm in South Africa after reportedly blaming the introduction Christianity in the 19th century for the continent’s current problems.
Mr Zuma, South Africa’s first Zulu president, told an event in his home province of KwaZulu-Natal that Christianity brought about “orphans” and “old-age homes” thereby destroying Africa’s traditions, according to South Africa’s Times newspaper.
“As Africans, long before the arrival of religion and [the] gospel, we had our own ways of doing things,” he said. “Those were times that the religious people refer to as dark days but we know that, during those times, there were no orphans or old-age homes. Christianity has brought along these things.” Mr Zuma’s office later issued a statement saying that his comments had been reported in a “misleading manner” and were aimed at ensuring South Africans do not neglect African culture.
“While we should embrace western culture and Christianity, we should not neglect the African ways of doing things,” said Mac Maharaj, presidency spokesman.